Traction for the neck

Air Neck Traction

Instructions For Using The Air Neck Traction

You will achieve the best results with regular applications. Begin your neck traction program with short traction sessions (3-5 minutes each). After the first week, you can gradually increase the amount of pressure and length of the traction sessions by a few minutes. Sessions should always be comfortable. If you notice any increase soreness and symptoms returning, decrease the length of your session. Take things slowly in the beginning for optimum results.

When you are ready to extend traction sessions to longer periods (10-20 minutes), always use the lowest amount of pressure that still provides an easy stretch. Stronger traction should always be for shorter periods of time (maximum 3-5 minutes), and for individuals who are experienced with the product.

AirNeckTraction™ is an FDA Registered Neck Traction Device.

To use the AirNeckTraction device while lying down, individuals should position a pillow under the head creating a space for the product behind the neck for comfort. The Neck Traction Pillow can be used for this purpose.

B) Instructions for Air Neck Traction

Instructions: Attach rear velcro straps and place Air Neck Traction Professional around neck with tubes and inflation bulbs in front. Adjust the inflatable layers for correct shape and position then fasten the velcro straps in front. Use a mirror to help.

Sit up straight, and rest your back in the chair. Keep your head pointed straight ahead looking out at eye-level. With the silver bulb valves closed, pump until you feel a light stretch of the neck. Let the back of your head rest comfortably back inside the unit. Relax your muscles. Pump it again in gradual increments, until you feel a pleasant stretch. You may continue to pump left and right sides until you achieve the right traction angle and right amount of stretch and/or relief according to comfort level or as prescribed by your doctor. Close the roller valves to prevent any leakage of air. You may adjust Air Neck Traction on your neck if needed until comfort and relief are attained, however, do not use the air tubes to adjust the unit or damage will result. Note: The bulbs are removable. After it is inflated, you can close the roller valves and remove the bulbs. Be careful where you place them. Many enjoy sitting while working or relaxing and not having the bulbs in the way.

When finished with your treatment session, open the roller valves, then unscrew the bulb valves and the air will release. Once the air has let out sufficiently, you may remove the Air Neck Traction and gently press on the layers to completely deflate and place in the traction carry case for safe keeping. Do not squeeze the device forcefully to let the air out.

1. Air chambers (3 front & 3 back)
2. Velcro straps (3 front & 3 back)
3. Air tubes
4. Inflation Bulbs
A. Bulb valve closed
B. Bulb valve open
5. Roller valve
A. Open air flow
B. Closed blocks air flow

Begin gently with minor and moderate level of traction at 1-2 times a day, then move on to major traction if comfortable. When you become used to it, the device can be used 2-3 times a day for a maximum of 20-30 minutes each time, but only 3-5 minutes for major traction and 1-3 minutes for special traction. Use at your own convenience while watching TV, working on computers, reading, traveling, reclining or relaxing, etc.

Neck Size One size fits all
Traction Range 0.4″ – 9.2″
Traction Force 0 – 180 lbs
Air Chambers 3 Per Side
Velcro Straps 6
Reversable Yes
Valve 2 Roller
Side Control Left & Right

C) Precautions

(1) Do not overinflate! The traction devices are inflatable and have bladders inside which can burst if overinflated. The Air Neck Traction is designed to be used gradually and to tolerance. They provide a great amount of traction force and there is no need to use maximum force or over-inflate for normal use. (2) Do not adjust the AirNeckTraction unit by pulling on the tubes! Adjustment should be made using the velcro straps and by moving the cloth layers. Pulling on the tubes will cause damage to the unit which is not covered under warranty.

Caution: Do not: Sleep with it on, use as a neck brace or with recent acute, or sprain and strain neck injury.

Important: Follow your doctor’s directions if prescribed, and relax as much as possible during use. If discomfort occurs during use, deflate the neck traction and adjust angle and pressure until discomfort disappears, then try again. Major traction force should be followed by 30 minutes of minor or moderate level traction. Avoid sharp objects or forceful handling during use. Avoid leaving filled with air while unused, but store with a little air still in to prolong product life.

You should not put the Air Neck Traction on and pump it up as far as it will go. You should begin using light traction and experiment using different levels of mild traction. Once comfortable with using the device, you may progress to increased levels of traction force slowly and over a period of time.

AirNeckTraction is assembled in the USA and sealed immediately after assembly. Because the Air Neck Traction comes in contact with the skin, hair, and possibly salive, it is considered a personal item and Federal Health Regulations do not allow returns unless defective. We are happy to assure you that each unit purchased from is brand new and not a used, repackaged one so that you may enjoy it in complete confidence.

Stretch, Strengthen, and Straighten Up

There are several types of manipulations and exercises your physical therapist or chiropractor can use to relieve stiffness, strengthen the area, and restore normal function of the neck. Treatments such as cold or heat application, deep tissue massage, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound may be used prior to exercise.

During physical therapy, you will practice a range of exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support your neck. You’ll also learn how to improve your posture and range of motion. To help you learn proper postures, the physical therapist might have you stand in front of a mirror while exercising so that you can see your mistakes and correct them.

Chiropractors use some of the same techniques as physical therapists. Gentle adjustments may help restore normal neck function and help alleviate pain. As with physical therapy, chiropractors manipulate the neck and thoracic joints to reduce stiffness, improve mobility, and increase range of motion. These adjustments might be unsuitable and potentially risky for people with vascular problems in the neck, such as carotid artery stenosis, or advanced osteoarthritis.

Your physical therapist, chiropractor, or medical doctor should determine whether you are at risk of further injury from manipulations before treating you.

Is Neck Traction Safe?

Today, millions of people across the country suffer from chronic neck and back pain. Because there are a wide variety of reasons as to why this lingering pain occurs, people have sought out an array of remedies to combat these uncomfortable symptoms. In recent years, one of the most common methods of treating neck or back pain has become the use of cervical traction, in which, tension is used to gently pull the head away from the spine.

Neck traction is a safe and effective way to treat some types of neck pain and is commonly used in many doctors’ and other medical professionals’ offices, including physical therapists, chiropractors, and even some general practitioners. However, you can have some of the same benefits of neck traction at home, as well thanks to the Neck Hammock – a safe and effective method for improving posture and treating neck and shoulder pain.

While there are different forms of neck traction, the Neck Hammock provides, comfortable, and effective treatment for many types of neck, shoulder, and back pain. Neck traction is generally regarded as very safe and although it is not intended to replace physical therapy or medical supervision, it can be a simple and effective addition to other modalities of treatment for neck and back pain.

Reasons for Neck Tension and Pain

There are a wide variety of reasons why people experience chronic neck pain. Modern day life creates more stress on the human body than previously experienced by past generations. Some of the stresses our bodies regularly encounter include:

  • Sitting in chairs or at desks all day long.
  • Stressful and pain-inducing situations at school and work.
  • Working long shifts on one’s feet.
  • Driving long hours either in a city or across the nation.
  • Intensive athletic pursuits.
  • Staring down at your phone regularly.

Many people in our modern society experience these pains even more acutely because more than one of these conditions apply to them. For example, many office workers that sit in chairs and desks all day proceed to go to the gym and lift heavy weights directly after their long work day. Uber drivers or truck drivers often drive for many hours on end and repeat their shirts for days at a time, without taking multi-day breaks or even many breaks during their shifts.

While many of these situations do appear to cause physical stress on the body, there are also a variety of mental conditions that can cause neck and back pain. It is common knowledge that even stress and anxiety can cause neck and back pain, and humans are working longer and more stressful hours than ever before. Anxiety causes us to hold tension in our necks, which can contribute to painful nights and discomfort during the day as well.

Side Effects of Neck Pain

Besides neck pain itself, there are a variety of side effects that can emerge from dealing with constant and persistent cervical neck and back pain. It is no coincidence that people with chronic neck and back pain also complain of a variety of other symptoms, including:

  • Tension headaches
  • Toothaches and jaw pain
  • Increased anxiety and stress, which only adds to and compounds the issues

When these symptoms appear, it can be even more annoying and can exacerbate the underlying health issues.

These problems can contribute to long-term health problems for many people who leave them unaddressed. Over time, anxiety and stress can create even more serious health issues, including high blood pressure and sleep issues, which can further compound into decreased life expectancy and lower quality of life.

Although neck issues are often considered isolated, it is not true that neck problems are an isolated health issue. If left unaddressed, neck and back pain can contribute to difficult health issues which make life less manageable and enjoyable. In fact, when you consider all of the wide range of side effects of neck and back pain, the most unsafe option is to leave neck and back pain unaddressed.

Neck Traction and its Benefits

Neck traction is a method of treatment that works by pulling the head away from the neck and spine. This can decrease compression of the spinal discs and increase the room between vertebrae, which ultimately helps to minimize the stress that can cause neck, back, and shoulder pain.

Neck traction is often employed by chiropractors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals in order to decrease the pressure in the spine and help relieve neck pain. It is often considered a safe, “alternative treatment,” to medication and surgery. As you might imagine, this is also much less expensive and intensive than the other options. While it is not the only option for people suffering from neck and back pain, it can be among the most effective for the price and level of commitment required.

Besides pain, neck traction can treat tension, tightness, and relieve stiffness of the neck. It also may provide the added benefits of increasing flexibility and encouraging better posture. By creating space between the vertebrae, neck traction can help decrease compression in the cervical spine, which may come with all the benefits listed above.

Mental Benefits of Neck Traction

In addition to the physical effects of neck traction, there are a wide variety of mental benefits, as well. If you’re suffering from neck, back, or shoulder pain, the condition likely takes a toll on your everyday life. In addition to the pain itself, these conditions can “drive you crazy:” increasing anxiety, stress, and frustration.

Neck traction is intended to relieve neck and shoulder pain, and it often does! With this relief can come a number of mental benefits. People who receive any kind of pain relief from a number of conditions often report feeling decreased stress, general ease, and increased happiness. This relief can help the mentally anguished relax, perhaps for the first time in a long time (depending on how long they’ve been suffering from a painful condition.

Practicing Neck Traction

Neck traction is generally defined as applying pressure to the head in the direction away from the neck and spine. There are typically three types of neck traction:

  • Manual traction, the most common type of neck traction, is generally performed when a physical therapist, chiropractor, or other medical professionals use their hands and arms to manipulate the neck, pulling the head away from the spine and stretching the muscles of the neck along with the spinal components.
  • Mechanical traction, slightly more complicated, is often done using a variety of devices, again typically in the safety of a doctor’s office. This type of traction is the most intense, often requiring specialized equipment and applying fairly intense traction to the spine and neck area. This type of traction is rather uncommon compared to the first type and is typically prescribed in serious or especially intense neck pain prognoses.
  • At-home (over-the-door) neck traction is easy to do at home and generally regarded as a gentle and safe treatment option for those with low-to-moderate neck and back pain. The most common type of neck traction device, of which the Neck Hammock is one, goes over the door or another area of your home and allows you to take advantage of the benefits of neck traction in the comfort and safety of your own home.

Using Over-the-Door Neck Traction

To safely use the Neck Hammock, it is critical that the instructions are followed carefully. These devices are completely benign when used as designed; however, there is a chance to injure oneself or aggravate current injuries if one does not heed the instructions. The first step is familiarizing oneself with the cervical traction device and making sure the guidelines make sense.

After becoming familiar with the method, you can begin to use the device. The “hammock,” or the place where the headrests, should be about 2-4 inches off the ground. After you’ve positioned the device appropriately, you should rest your neck in the device. There are a few possible positions – the neck may need to be placed into the device directly, or you may experience more relief placing your head into the device (middle of the head). Everyone has different preferences when using a neck traction device, so there is no right or wrong. Listen to your body and do what feels good.

After you’ve used the neck traction treatment device a few times, you may be able to increase the distance from the ground to the device. Again, the proper distance from the ground depends on the user. As you get used to the feeling, and your neck becomes more accustomed to the stretch, you may feel more comfortable with more of a stretch.

Caution for Some People

Admittedly, there are some people who should not utilize neck traction as a treatment without supervision or recommendation from a medical professional. If you have any of the following conditions, you should be careful before using cervical neck traction at home:

  • Arthritis

  • Hardware left over from surgery (for example, pins in your spine)
  • Recent neck or spine injury
  • A tumor in the vicinity of your neck
  • An infection of the bone or other infection in the neck
  • Vertebrae issues
  • Carotid arteries
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cervical instability
  • Spinal hypermobility

These conditions may prevent neck traction from being effective for you, and they may even make neck traction dangerous for you. Please do not use the Neck Hammock, or any other home traction device, if you suffer from any of these conditions.

It would be wise to consult a doctor or other medical professional if you are considering neck traction with any of these conditions, or if you have a desire to learn more about neck traction before starting treatment.

Safety of Neck Traction for Most Adults

For most people, neck traction is perfectly harmless and beneficial. If you follow instructions correctly and make sure that you are not one of the people who need to be careful using neck traction (be sure that you review the conditions above), you will be fine using neck traction as a treatment for your back, neck, and shoulder pain.

Much like leaning off the edge of the bed, or manipulating your neck by moving your head, neck traction is a natural and effective way to treat neck and back pain. In thousands of reviewed uses of neck traction, none have resulted in serious injury among persons with the typical varieties of neck and back pain. It is imperative that you review the instructions that come with your neck traction device (including the Neck Hammock), and do not use them in a way that was not intended.

Over-the-door cervical neck traction devices apply slight pressure to the neck region. Of course, if you do decide to use neck traction, remember that you are in control of your treatment. If you start to feel pain or discomfort, you should discontinue use of the device immediately and consult a doctor or medical professional.


If you suffer from neck or back pain, it is very possible that neck or spinal compression is the cause of this discomfort. There are a wide variety of treatments available to you, including surgery or medicinal treatment. These treatments come with a wide variety of risks and can be very expensive.

Among the safest and least expensive options is neck traction, which can be practiced by a medical professional or in the safety and comfort of your own home. Physical therapists and chiropractic treatment can be expensive. Neck traction at home can provide many of the benefits, relieving head and neck pain, and can even be the safest long-term options for your health. The safety of neck traction is generally undisputed, especially when compared with the other treatment options available.

Feel free to reach out to us at Neck Hammock if you have any questions about treatment or if you’d like to learn more about over-the-door neck traction!!


12 Best Cervical and Back Traction Devices for Home Use

  • comes with video instructions
  • budget-friendly
  • Cons:

    • takes longer to see results

    How to use: secure one of the unit’s straps onto a door or a fixed point. Once the device is stable, put on the traction belt, as well as the waist belt and make sure you are comfortable and sheltered in the harness. When you are ready, slowly ratchet the device – this will pull you towards the door and stretch out your lower back spine, releasing tension. Watch the DVD for further guidelines.

    2. CoreStretch

    Having been used successfully by professionals for years, CoreStretch has become a popular and reliable product when it comes to at-home traction therapy. It allows for an ergonomic position of the body in order to provide decompression for muscles, ligaments, and tendons that surround your legs and core.

    This product is ideal for anyone with chronic back pain or spinal health conditions because it ensures results no matter how much mobility you have or how severe your issue is. It comes with ten sizing options and can be easily used whether standing, sitting or laying on the floor. The three-plane swivel helps you do twisting motions, move up and down or side to side. Aside from your lumbar area, it also works on your hamstrings, shins, shoulders, calves, and glutes.

    This lumbar traction device guarantees effective and secure stretching. It was initially developed by a team of physical therapists in order to help alleviate symptoms in their patients. Unlike traditional therapy where the back is forced to curve unnaturally, the innovative design of CoreStretch fully elongates the spine and offers a much more extensive stretch, as well as increased flexibility. The machine is adjustable and portable.


    • effective, research-based decompression for your back
    • unique design
    • foldable and easy to move
    • comes with 10 sizing options
    • can be used regardless of mobility level
    • provides a deeper stretch than standard machines
    • comes with detailed guides and online videos targeted for beginners, intermediate and advanced exercises


    • cost

    3. Stamina in Line Back Stretch Bench

    This non-invasive traction device not only stretches your lumbar area but also strengthens it and prevents injuries. Highly effective for people of all sizes, Stamina in Line Back Stretch Bench helps you to gently release pressure in your spine. It does so through a specialized decompression system and a simple lever that allows you to be in control of the entire process.

    Made of sturdy, superior materials, the machine guarantees long-term relief not only for your back but also for hip, ankle and knee pain. Its frame contains steel and welded joints and the cushion is firm to ensure that your spine remains straight and properly stretched. Moreover, the machine can aid with bad posture and promotes back realignment.

    The Stamina in Line Bench works by allowing your back to rest comfortably and eliminating pressure from your nerve endings. The high-density foam and the padded arms and ankle support keep your body relaxed and pain-free during the decompression. Additionally, the shoulder width can be customized to fit your size, and the ankle lock helps hold your position.

    The item also features endcaps that protect your floor, as well as a wheel for transportation. What is special about Stamina in Line is that it caters to people with a variety of health conditions, but also to those who just want to prevent complications. Consistent use lowers your risk of future injury and is also useful for stretching and relaxation if you work a desk job or long hours.


    • high performance and quality materials
    • portable, with simple design
    • features length adjustment knob
    • easy-to-use lever for slow decompression
    • ankle lock to keep your back still
    • padded support and contoured foam
    • affordable


    • has a weight limit: 250 lbs
    • some users report feeling pressure on their armpits during use

    How to use: adjust the arm supports and the height to fit your measurements. Lay down on the cushioned bench and find a comfortable position. Make sure that your armpits are over the arm supports and place your feet between the ankle supports. Pull the lever to adjust your stretch and allow your body to rest for a few minutes.

    No one enjoys neck pain. It can be a distracting, frustrating, and prevent you from focusing on the tasks that you need to accomplish. Unfortunately, most people who experience neck pain don’t know what to do about it; they may take a few pain pills and try to wait it out – a temporary solution that doesn’t address the underlying problem.

    In many cases, the best remedy is a process called cervical traction or neck traction. Traction is a simple procedure that involves stretching the head away from the neck, thereby eliminating or decreasing pressure on the spine. The best part about this treatment is that neck traction doesn’t necessarily require physical therapy appointments – with the right equipment, it can be done from the comfort of your own home.

    Those who attempt neck traction are quick to champion its fast-acting and long-term benefits. Learning how to incorporate neck traction into your self-care routine can greatly improve your overall bodily health and potentially eliminate those days where neck pain seems to be the only thing on your mind.

    Benefits of Cervical Traction

    It’s often hard to identify the underlying cause of chronic neck pain. Because there are so many potential triggers, it can be difficult to identify lifestyle decisions that may be aggravating the issue. However, if you are experiencing tension and tightness in the neck area, traction will potentially alleviate the symptoms while you and a doctor attempt to figure out the root cause.

    As a side note, quite often, simple corrections like improving your posture can go a long way in eliminating neck pain.

    Muscle Relaxation

    If your neck pain manifests as stiffness in the area, it’s possible that the surrounding muscles are overly tense. Neck traction helps stretch out these muscles by gently pulling the head away from the rest of the neck, thereby allowing the muscles to unwind and relax. As a result of this process, those who attempt neck traction also report greater flexibility in the area.

    • Neck traction can eliminate stiffness in the area by stretching the muscles in and around the neck.
    • Stretching muscles in the neck can improve mobility in the neck region.

    Manage Joint, Sprain, and Spasm Pain

    If your neck pain manifests infrequent spasms or is the result of a past sprain, neck traction can directly treat the root issues. Often, these symptoms are the result of built-up tension, and by stretching out the vertebrae, you can target these problem areas.

    • Manage pain resulting from minor injuries.
    • Target problem areas and minimize neck spasms.

    Alleviate Bulging or Herniated Discs

    Your spinal column is essentially a stack of discs – like poker chips piled in a stack, only with space between them. These discs can slip out of alignment when injured. When this happens, it’s known as a herniated, prolapsed, or slipped disc. In these cases, the disc can noticeably bulge, which can be a dangerous and problematic complication.

    Speak with your doctor if you’re experiencing these symptoms before attempting at-home treatment, but in many cases, your doctor will advise neck traction to treat this condition.

    • If you’ve slipped a disc or are experiencing a bulging disc, neck traction can help realign the spinal cord vertebrae.

    Relief from Pinched Nerves

    Pinching a nerve can be an incredibly unpleasant experience. Often, the pain does not stay localized and can spread into the shoulder area, even if the nerve was pinched in the neck. This can create a host of symptoms that should be addressed by a doctor.

    Studies have shown that neck traction might help alleviate these symptoms and can facilitate recovery.

    • If you’ve pinched a nerve, neck traction might help with pain relief and alleviate some of the frustrating symptoms that accompany this injury.

    Improved Range of Motion

    Without even knowing it, many people experience a limited range of neck motion. Because they never stretch or massage the area, the muscles remain tense which makes it difficult to rotate the head comfortably. Neck traction can improve mobility in the area by helping to stretch out muscles and encourage spinal alignment.

    • Many people don’t realize they have a limited range of motion in their neck.
    • Stretching out the area can improve range of motion and mobility.

    How to Practice Neck Traction

    While the benefits are plentiful and most people want to get started alleviating their neck pain right away, it’s important to make sure you know how to attempt the procedure safely. The neck is an exceedingly sensitive and vital part of your body. If you attempt neck traction and don’t know what you’re doing, it is all too possible to seriously hurt yourself and, at the very least, aggravate your symptoms.

    • If you aren’t confident in your ability to attempt neck traction at home, please consult a healthcare professional. They will guide you through the process and will make sure that it’s done safely.
    • Physical therapists, trained in the process of cervical traction, will be able to measure patient progress, provide specific instruction tailored to their medical condition, and will help make adjustments if they’re needed.

    Manual Neck Traction

    Manual neck traction is cervical traction done with the aid of a physical therapist or another helpful party. In most cases, the person undergoing the process will lie down, and the physical therapist will gently take hold of the head and lightly pull. If done with the help of a healthcare professional, manual neck traction can potentially offer the most significant results. They will be able to make adjustments suited to your specific case while repeating the procedure.

    Mechanical Traction

    Similar to manual neck traction, mechanical traction requires the help of another party – preferably a physical therapist. Like over-the-door traction, it is conducted with the use of a harness that attaches to the head and neck area. Mechanical traction devices make it simple to make precise adjustments to your treatment, which allows you to focus on problem areas that might be more difficult to address without the help of another person.

    At-Home Neck Traction

    It’s possible to practice neck traction at home with the help of a special harness that surrounds the head and neck and attaches to the door frame. It can be done while lying down or sitting – standing is not typically recommended, as standing introduces the possibility of creating an unnecessary movement that might prove harmful.

    If you have chosen to attempt neck traction from your home, consider consulting a physical therapist beforehand. In most cases, people who attempt this process themselves do so because they’ve been instructed to by their physical therapist.

    Neck Traction Devices

    Traditionally, neck traction was conducted with the aid of over-the-door devices and air traction devices. While these methods have helped some, they both contain drawbacks which can prevent someone seeking relief from harnessing the full range of benefits. By studying these systems and determining the best ways to improve their functionality, Neck Hammock has devised a system that combines portability and functionality.

    Over-the-Door Devices

    Just like the name implies, over-the-door neck traction devices require a door frame. They can help you practice neck traction in the comfort of their own home. A strap cups the chin and wraps around the back of the head, and then a pulley system helps gently life the head away from the neck.

    Air Traction Devices

    For those who aren’t comfortable with over-the-door devices, air traction devices offer a gentle alternative. They look and operate like a neck brace. They are placed around the head and then inflated by using a hand pump. When you inflate the device, it begins to slowly push down on your shoulders and thereby lift your head slowly away from your neck.

    Neck Hammock

    The Neck Hammock comfortably cups the back of the head and holds it steady while facilitating the traction process. They are portable and can slip into any size bag, they are comfortable and provide extreme cushioning for the back of the head, and they are highly affordable. It’s possible to attach the Neck Hammock to several different apparatuses – which means you don’t need to harness an unwieldy traction device to a door frame. There is no pulley system, and it doesn’t require inflation.

    Is It Safe?

    Is neck traction is safe The short answer is yes. Almost every single person can attempt neck traction – there are no height or weight or age requirements – and the benefits can be attained no matter who uses a neck traction device. That said, every single person is different, and what might benefit one person might irritate the condition of another. While the majority of people can use neck traction devices, you should be cautious when you make your first attempt.

    It’s also important to note that neck traction is safe so long as the device is used correctly. If you misuse the neck traction system or attach it to a potentially unsteady surface, it’s possible to harm yourself. Pay close attention to the instructions that come with your neck traction device and make sure that you follow them precisely. If a physical therapist has recommended neck traction, make sure to follow their instructions as closely as you possibly can.

    Side Effects

    There are some potential side effects that people who want to attempt neck traction need to be prepared for. While side effects are generally predicated on preexisting conditions, it’s helpful to anticipate what might happen.

    Some of the most common side effects of neck traction include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Nausea
    • Headaches
    • Dizziness

    If you begin to feel any of these symptoms, disengage from the neck traction system quickly and safely. When you begin using a neck traction device, you are moving your body in ways that it might not be used to. This may be the cause of the symptoms – and they may not return upon further use. However, if you feel that you’re going to faint or potentially pass out, remove yourself from the device.

    Complicating Factors

    There are certain complicating factors that might exclude you from the use of neck traction devices. While not all of these factors might disqualify you, if you experience or have a history with any of these problems, it would be prudent to discuss your neck traction plans with a doctor before use.

    • Osteoporosis
    • Cervical instability
    • Blockages with vertebrae or carotid arteries
    • Bone infections
    • Tumors around the neck area
    • Screws in your neck or shoulders as a result of surgery
    • Spinal hypermobility
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis

    If you suffer from any of these conditions, proceed with caution. While they don’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t attempt neck traction, they may lead to complications that would be greater than neck pain as a result of tension.


    Neck traction, a form of cervical traction, can alleviate myriad symptoms associated with neck pain. If you suffer from stiffness, soreness, spasms, or have problems with discs in your neck, it can be a useful option that has fast-acting and long-term health benefits.

    There are various devices that can assist you with neck traction. While physical therapists have traditionally helped people attempting the process, it can now be safely done in the comfort of your home – or on the road – with the aid of cervical traction devices like Neck Hammock. The portability of this device has revolutionized the ability to manage neck pain whenever and wherever you might be.

    While the benefits of neck traction are plentiful, it’s essential that you take the necessary steps to ensure that you attempt the process safely. Carefully adhere to the instructions that you receive with your neck traction device, and if your physical therapist has recommended the process, make sure that you follow them as closely as possible. If you have any potentially complicating conditions, consult with health care professionals to make sure that neck traction will not aggravate your preexisting conditions. However, given the gentle nature of the process, it can be a welcomed addition to your self-care routine.

    Mechanical traction for neck pain with or without symptoms that radiate to the neck or arm

    Twenty-six to 71% of the adult population can recall experiencing an episode of neck pain or stiffness in their lifetime. Neck pain is more common in females than in males, with rates reported as high as 77.8%. The natural history is unclear. Neck pain has a costly impact on society because of visits to healthcare providers, sick leave, disability and loss of productivity. There are a number of treatments available for neck pain, one of which is mechanical traction.

    Mechanical traction ‘stretches’ the neck. With the patient lying on their back, a head halter is placed under the back of the head and possibly the jaw and attached to a machine. The machine is set for a certain time period and specific weight for the pulling action to occur. The traction can remain on steadily for the specified time (referred to as continuous or static) or intermittently (on/off cycle) during the treatment session. Experts think that traction expands the space between the vertebrae, increases the movement of the joints and stretches the muscles and ligaments around the vertebrae. Side effects are generally few, but can include headache, nausea, fainting and injury to tissue.

    We included seven randomized controlled trials (RCT), with a total of 958 participants, that looked at the effects of continuous or intermittent mechanical traction for individuals with chronic neck pain (lasting for more than three months). Some had symptoms that radiated into the arms and head (radicular symptoms), others did not.

    Only one RCT (100 participants) had a low risk of bias, which means we can have confidence in the findings. This trial found that on average, there was no statistically significant difference between continuous and placebo traction in reducing pain or improving function for individuals with chronic neck disorder with radicular symptoms.

    In summary, our review found no evidence from RCTs with a low potential for bias that clearly supports or refutes the use of either continuous or intermittent traction for individuals with chronic neck disorders.

    Neck Pain — Is Traction An Option?

    For people experiencing neck pain, traction of the spine, also known as cervical traction, is a commonly used therapy. However, its benefits for neck pain have not been scientifically proven.

    In traction, tension is placed on the head to pull it up and away from the neck, stretching the muscles and ligaments around the vertebrae of the spine and expanding the space between the vertebrae. The goal is to provide the opportunity for muscles to relax and pinched nerves to be released.

    Traction: Available Methods

    Two types of traction are used to stretch out the cervical spine:

    • Manual traction. A physical therapist performs this type of traction. The patient lies down on a table, and the therapist uses his or her hands to pull the head away from the neck. While performing manual traction, the therapist may reposition the head to achieve better results, moving it to the side or turning the head.
    • Mechanical traction. This form of traction for the cervical spine involves tension provided by mechanical means. A machine may provide the tension, or it can be a system of weights used with a harness or sling. Straps are placed on the patient’s head, and then mechanical pressure is used to pull the head away from the neck and spine.

    Traction: What to Expect

    The specifics of the traction therapy a person receives depends on the source of pain in their neck and spine. In most cases of mechanical traction, 7 to 10 pounds of weight will be applied for a half-hour, often two or three times daily. Therapists often will use heat or muscle relaxants to make the traction more effective.

    During traction, the pull on your spine may be continuous or intermittent, again depending on your condition. Doctors who recommend traction find that gentle pressure applied off and on is often best to help control pain from a fresh injury or irritation. More forceful traction can be used for joints or muscles that refuse to relax or reposition.

    Since traction is often used several times a day, some patients sometimes take a mechanical weight-and-pulley traction system home with them to use. A weight and pulley go over a door, and the person wears an attached halter on their head. This system can be used with the patient sitting, leaning back, or lying down.

    Traction can be used on for days or weeks, depending on the level of your neck pain and how well your neck or spine are responding to the treatment.

    Traction: Who Might Benefit

    Traction has a reputation as being an effective way to treat neck pain, and doctors use cervical spine traction to treat different causes of neck pain. The stretching is believed to help relieve sprains and spasms of the neck muscle. By stretching apart the vertebrae of the spine, traction is believed to help relieve pain caused by worn spinal disks. Finally, traction can free nerves pinched by compression between vertebrae.

    However, there remains the question of whether neck traction has been scientifically proven to be of benefit to people with neck pain. Researchers have found little proof that mechanical traction provides pain relief; in fact, in some studies, placebo traction provided as much benefit as real traction. One research study review concluded that current evidence neither supports nor disproves the effectiveness of cervical traction for pain relief or improved mobility.

    Traction for Neck Pain CPR

    Original Editor – Miwa Matsumoto

    Top Contributors – Miwa Matsumoto, Evan Thomas, Simisola Ajeyalemi, Kim Jackson and Claire Knott


    Raney et al developed a Clinical Prediction Rule (CPR) for identifying patients with neck pain likely to respond to mechanical cervical traction. Eighty patients with neck pain received 6 sessions of intermittent cervical traction and cervical exercises 2x/week for 3 weeks. Outcome was measured based on the global rating of change (> ±6 were classified as having a successful outcome). Based on a significance level of P < 0.15, five variables out of 15 potential variables were retained in the final regression model.

    A CPR with 5 variables was identified:

    1. patient reported periperalization with lower cervical spine (C4-7) mobility testing,
    2. positive shoulder abduction test,
    3. age > 55,
    4. positive upper limb tension test A,
    5. positive neck distraction test

    Although a following validation study is warranted, this preliminary CPR provides the ability for a clinician to identify the sub-group of patients with neck pain who would most likely to benefit from cervical traction and exercise.

    Combination of Predictor Variables and Associated Accuracy Statistics

    The probability of successful outcome after cervical traction is calculated using the + LR and pretest probability of 44% (30 out of 68 patients). Accuracy statistics with 95% CI for individual variables for predicting success with cervical traction.

    • Having at least 3 out of 5 predictors appears to be the optimal threshold for choosing the cervical traction as an intervention.
    • Having fewer than 2 predictors might indicate a sub-group who would preferentially benefit from a different intervention (e.g.) pt had 1/5 predictor variables, the post-test probability of success with cervical traction and exercise is only 47.5%, less than a chance.

    Description of Special Tests

    Test Procedure Positive Test
    Shoulder abduction test Pt in sitting position. Pt is instructed to place the hand of the affected extremity on the head in order to support the extremity in the scapular plane Alleviation of symptoms
    Upper limb tension test (ULTT A)

    Pt supine. Examiner sequentially introduces the following movements to the symptomatic UE:

    1. Scapular depression
    2. Shoulder abduction
    3. Forearm supination
    4. Wrist and finger extension
    5. Shoulder external rotation
    6. Elbow extension
    7. Contralateral then ipsilateral cervical side bending
    Reproduction of Symptoms
    Neck distraction test Pt supine w/ neck comfortably positioned. Examiner securely grasps the pt’s head under the occiput and chin and gradually applies an axial traction force up to approximately 30 pounds. Reduction or elimination of symptoms

    Description of Exercises

    Exercise Procedure
    Seated posture exercise Pt sitting with spine in a natural lordosis. Pt retract scapulae and gently elongate the cervical spines to achieve a neutral upright postural position. (Hold 10 sec, 2x/hr)
    DNF exercise

    Pt supine. Perform a slow and controlled craniocervical flexion motion without contracting the large superficial anterior neck muscles. (Hold 10 sec x 10; 2x/day)

    1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Raney N, Petersen EJ, Smith TA, Cowan JE, Rendeiro DG, Deyle GD, Childs JD. Development of a clinical prediction rule to identify patients with neck pain likely to benefit from cervical traction and exercise. Eur Spine J 2009;18:382-391
    2. Jull G, Trott P, Potter H, Zito G, Niere K, Shirley D, Emberson J, Marschner I, Richardson C. A randomized controlled trial of exercise and manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache. Spine 2002;27:1835-1843

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